Posts tagged Respect

Respect and Dignity

Today in class we talked about methods of teaching and creating change.

We actually learn these skills in the 12 Step programs.  Extending ourselves to people in a respectful way that allows them their dignity is a major concept to employ.  As we engage in dialogue with others, we can stay open-minded and curious enough to ” understand ” what they are saying, why they’re saying it, and what we may have in common – even if we seem to be diametrically opposed on a specific topic.  Perhaps there are more areas where we agree than we might have imagined.  The main goal is to understand more about the other person.

When we understand more, we can have more compassion, tolerance, patience, regard and admiration for as well as relationship with people and life in general.  I’m still learning about these concepts.  My classes are now enhancing the firm foundation that 12 Step Programs have nurtured in me over the years.  If I can stay out of the way, let go and be respectful, there is even more opportunity for me to learn from others.  I like that.  We can all learn from each other – if we choose to do so.  Respectfully.

Affirmation for the Day – ” I am seeking to understand.”

Remember to say the affirmation at least 3 times whenever you remember it, preferably in front of a mirror.

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Demonstrating Respect

Demonstrating respect seems to be a pretty straight forward activity.  However, if we aren’t expressing respect in ways that are meaningful to those around us, it is meaningless.

For example, if we are doing only what seems respectful to us we may be missing the mark with others.  For some of us respect is demonstrated by saying please and thank you, or anticipating a need before it’s mentioned.  For some it means removing our shoes at the door, or cleaning up any little mess we make as soon as we’re done with a project.  For some it may mean doing the dishes after every meal, for others it may mean just rinsing and neatly stacking until the last meal.  What I’m getting at is that it’s important to find out what makes other people feel respected, rather than assuming.  We may be missing the mark.  I ask for what I want.  I also ask my spouse what makes him feel respected for two reasons – so I’m not wasting my time, and so that he truly feels respected by the way I treat him.

This may seem simple, or silly, or unnecessary.  But, it really makes a difference.  Demonstrating respect in ways that are meaningful to others makes sense.  It’s also about getting out of ourselves.  And the nice thing is, we know that what we do is communicating clearly the respect we have for other people.  It prevents resentments, and creates a fertile environment for good relations with our fellows.  A small detail that can reap great benefits for all.

Affirmation for the Day – ” I am learning to be more respectful. ”

Remember to say the affirmation at least 3 times whenever you remember it, preferably in front of a mirror.

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Sponsorship – Moving On Respectfully

As sponsees, we may eventually reach a point where it makes sense for us to move on to another sponsor.  We need to keep in mind that our current sponsor was willing to give to us, freely.  We are not, I repeat “NOT firing” anyone.  Such a view and such language seems disrespectul and bordering on ego arrogance.  We didn’t hire them.  Nor are we hiring anyone new.  This is not a work situation.  We didn’t give them a job. 

Instead we’re choosing to move forward down a different avenue of learning with a new sponsor.  Perhaps we’ve heard someone in meetings speaking who has a different experience and what they say seems to resonate regarding the help we need at this time in our life.  When choosing to move on, it’s important to keep in mind what the gift of sponsorship is all about.  When we were new in the program we asked another member to sponsor us – which means we asked them to make time for us in their busy lives.  We asked a member to extend their time and life energy by working us through the Steps, taking our calls, and sharing on a very personal level about their experience, strength and hope.  They’ve granted us a great gift by being willing to do this service for us.  We, in turn, have had the privelege of working with this courageous person who has gone before us.  This experience is not to be taken lightly.  Nor is dealing with how to move on.  We do not just stop calling our current sponsor before moving on.

When deciding to work with a new sponsor, it’s important to first acknowledge our current sponsor and the gifts they’ve given us.  We can keep it simple.  We do this by thanking them for being there for us so spontaneously, for so generously sharing with us of their experience, and for helping us make progress by working us through the Steps.  Sponsorship is a special relationship – one of rigorous honesty – so it’s important for us to be honest and forthright with our sponsor.  It’s a principle of the 12 Step programs.  We’ve been blessed by the relationship.  Our sponsor deserves to be treated with dignity, respect and gratitude for their significant contribution to our recovery.  We will continue to see them at meetings in most cases, and they will always hold a special place in our recovery process – yet, the relationship is changing.  And change is a natural part of life.  It’s okay.

Affirmation for the Day – ” I am grateful for the gift of sponsorship.”

Remember to say the affirmation at least 3 times whenever you remember it, preferably in front of a mirror.

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Honoring Sponsoring

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Sponsorship is a mutual and reciprocal activity.  In other words both the sponsor and the sponsee are responsible to and for the relationsip that develops.  They are responsible to create a relationship for respect and dignity to be active and present.  There is language that I hear in the recovery community that feels unhelpful in the creation and maintenance of respect and dignity.

What I’ve heard are sponsees referred to as pidgeons, sponsees mentioning hiring and firing sponsors, and a few other phrases that just don’t seem to honor the sponsor/sponsee relationship.  They do seem to feed ego needs however, which I’ve learned can be dangerous for all of us.  It’s a great honor to be asked to sponsor someone.  It is also a great honor to be sponsored by someone.  In both cases, we are graced by God through the sharing that occurs in the relationship.  We both learn, we both grow, we both have more experience, strength and hope to share with others because of our relationship.  The icing on the cake is the friendship that often develops.

So, I honor the gift of sponsorship and sponseeship with my language as well as my behavior.  I acknowledge my sponsor and my sponsee for the gifts I receive from our relationship in the form of helpful insights, and their trust in me to share such confidential things about themselves.  They are referred to as my sponsor and my sponsees.  That is what they are – and it seems disrespectful to call anyone a pidgeon.  Also, when it’s appropriate to move on from the sponsorship relationship we don’t fire anyone.  We aren’t their boss.  Instead, as a sponsor we let sponsees know that it has been an honor to walk through the process of the 12 Steps and share the recovery journey with them.  We let them know that is seems to make sense for them to find someone new whom they can hear. We let them know they can call us in the future and we will keep them in our prayers.  As a sponsee, when it’s time to find a new sponsor, we acknowledge and thank our sponsor for being there for us and sharing their experience, strength and hope with us.  We express our gratitude for their time and effort and generousity.  These are the ways we honor our sponsors and sponsees.  These are the ways that we demonstrate respect and dignity with people.

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 Affirmation for the Day – ” I am learning how to be.”

Remember to say the affirmation at least 3 times whenever you remember it, preferably in front of a mirror.

Course In Miracles Lesson – This day I choose to spend in perfect peace.

Practice – And so, our Father, would we cone to You in Your appointed way.  We have no goal except to hear Your Voice and find the way Your sacred Word has pointed out to us.

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